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Goodbye First Love Review

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Loved-up French teenagers Camille (Créton) and Sullivan (Urzendowsky) have sworn their undying devotion to each other. When Sullivan reveals his plans to head to South America with some friends, she is left bereft and searching for a way to get over him.

★★★★

Mia Hansen-Løve builds upon the excellent impression made with Father Of My Children with this exquisite study of love, loss and healing. Carrying echoes of François Truffaut, Eric Rohmer and the underrated Jean Eustache, this is the kind of sentimental education for which French cinema was invented. Following Lola Créton over a decade from her teenage crush on Sebastian Urzendowsky to a more mature romance with architecture professor Magne-Håvard Brekke, the story is constructed from subtly conveyed details that emphasise the simple human truths in what otherwise might be mistaken for clichés. The performances are similarly understated, with Créton poignantly capturing the pain of rejection and lost trust, while Hansen-Løve adroitly uses Stéphane Fontaine’s camera to stress the contrasts between her beaux. Quite charming.

Hansen-Løve again shows what a gifted storyteller she is with this tender, realistic portrayal of young love. Highly recommended.